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THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
3D Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Voices: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Hector Elizondo
Director: Chris McKay
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 104 Minutes
Release Date: June 13, 2017

My name is Richard Grayson. The kids at the orphanage call me Dick.”

Well, children can be cruel…”

Film ***

My comrade Gordon and I were recently discussing one of those issues that keep film buffs like us up at night…who was the best Batman? Ben Affleck? Christian Bale? Michael Keaton? Even the unusual but culturally-defining take by the late great Adam West?

I eventually settled…best Batman ever? Will Arnett.

I don’t know if Gordon agreed with me, but he certainly didn’t argue against my choice. Whereas over the last 50 years we’ve seen takes on Batman from the truly dark to the truly campy, and even a bit of surreal quirkiness, only Will Arnett has captured one appealing aspect of the character: that it’s FUN to be Batman.

Going from a memorable supporting role in the excellent LEGO Movie, Arnett is back for a starring turn in The LEGO Batman Movie. Like its predecessor, this film is fun, comical, and filled with visual wonders, all anchored by Mr. Arnett’s indelible take on the comic book hero.

From the opening, where Batman is commenting on how films begin with black screens and logos (the best films, anyway), we are treated to a Batman never seen anywhere else. He does battle with the Joker (Galifianakis) and other Gotham arch-criminals, enjoys the celebrity of being a hero, and camps in his massive mansion on an island, where in a truly stadium sized home theatre, enjoys Jerry Maguire.

Batman is a loner, he muses, and even dismisses the Joker…he doesn’t need an arch criminal rival to define him. This leads the dismayed Joker to an even bigger and badder plan; namely, releasing super criminals from Superman’s Phantom Zone for an all-out assault on Gotham.

Batman, of course, is not REALLY a loner, having the ever-present Alfred (Fiennes) by his side. Soon, he will have to learn the real value of teamwork, as he reluctantly finds he needs the new commissioner Barbara Gordon (Dawson) and her new identity, as well as a new orphan named Dick Grayson (Cera) he inadvertently adopted.

The film is filled with fun cameos (my favorite is Eddie Izzard as none other than Voldemort), and a great sense of fun, action and style. Some of it may go on a bit long, but ultimately, the humor and energy of the performances all shine through to deliver solid entertainment for all ages. One of my favorite moments is when Batman realizes they’re having a Justice League party without him…yikes!

And the film has a real sense of franchise history…when Alfred starts mentioning some of Batman’s crises of conscience, he reflects back to each of the prior films, even going back to that weird time in the 60s (God bless Adam West). And, of course, it doesn’t ever get too far from reminding us this is a LEGO world, after all. Fastest way to get what you need is to build it yourself.

But the real star of it all remains Will Arnett, whose gruff self-importance creates a version of Batman not exactly true to the graphic novels or even the most recent franchise reboots, but instead gives us a singular, unique take on the caped crusader that, as mentioned, is the most fun for my money.

Besides, when one movie has Batman taking on Sauron, Voldemort, and even Jaws…what’s not to love?

Video ****

This 3D Blu-ray is absolutely spectacular…one of the best I’ve seen in a while. It adds an extra element of fun, as you feel a bit like a kid playing with your own LEGO world thanks to the depth and dimension of this presentation. Colors are bright, vivid and popping throughout, and images are sharp and crystal clear from start to finish. Superb!

Audio ****

Likewise, the uncompressed surround audio delivers all the power, discretion and dynamic range of any good action movie (and this kind of is one of those). Dialogue is well-rendered, music (gotta love the rapping Batman), and special effects are potent and keep both front and rear stages balanced and in full play.

Features ***

The extras include a DVD and digital copy of the movie, plus4 deleted scenes, 6 featurettes on the production, and best of all, 4 new animated shorts, available in 3D!

Summary:

Like the saying goes, always be yourself, unless you can be Batman. If that’s true, then the version I want to be is the one in The LEGO Batman Movie. What’s the point of being Batman if you can’t have a blast while doing it? I’m sure Mr. Arnett would agree.

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